ISR's Daniel Ricciardo set the pace in the World Series by Renault's only practice session in Monte Carlo this morning.
The 2010 race winner has a hectic weekend, as he also drove for Toro Rosso in Formula 1 practice immediately following the session, though ISR's chief engineer Peter Berry said the logistics were manageable.
"The only day where there was a complication was today," he said. "We had to bring Daniel in early because of his Formula 1 commitments and Filip Salaquarda drove the car back [to the paddock]. We were surprised by his speed. He said to me, 'If we're not in the top 10, don't worry.' The problem is I do worry. We probably won't see Daniel until this afternoon for a debrief, but we have plenty of other things to be getting on with so it's not a problem. Daniel has said he will be making notes for us, but his priority here is Formula 1 and I totally understand and respect that."
Also with a dual role this weekend is the series' second Red Bull Junior driver Jean-Eric Vergne. The Carlin driver, who is leading the championship, was a little off-song this morning and ended the session down in 14th. The Frenchman was in a big rush to meet a helicopter and travel back to the Red Bull F1 simulator in England at the end of today's 45 minutes of running. Vergne is expected to return to Monaco for qualifying on Saturday morning.
The second Carlin entry of Robert Wickens was second fastest today, 0.045sec behind Ricciardo's 1m27.957s best.
One of the stars of last year's race, Brendon Hartley, took third for newcomer Gravity-Charouz. The Kiwi was confident of another good showing.
"I didn't get a time in on my last lap because of traffic, but we're looking strong," said Hartley. "The times are already fast. I think that they have resurfaced parts of the track in the middle and last sectors. You need to be on the front row. Last year I did overtake quite a few people, I just need to avoid tagging a wall in qualifying like last time."
Growing in confidence in his second year in the championship, American Jake Rosenzweig put in one of his most competitive runs to date. The Mofaz driver consistently featured among the leaders of the timing screens and, despite ending the session up the Ste Devote escape road, took fourth.
"I locked-up the rears and then couldn't find reverse at the end of the session," said Rosenzweig. "The car feels pretty good, although the track will be evolving through the weekend."
America's Alexander Rossi was fifth for Fortec, ahead of BVM Target's Daniel Zampieri.
The session was marred by a heavy accident to Epic Racing's Sten Pentus, who ran wide over a curb into the left-hand entry of the swimming pool section and launched his car into the air. The right-hand side of the car was wiped off in the ensuing impact. The second Epic machine of Albert Costa stopped on track with fuel pressure issues.
Others to encounter problems were Mofaz Racing's Chris van der Drift, who damaged his suspension, and Fortec's Cesar Ramos who similarly damaged his left-front wheel at the Mirabeau.
Auto GP regular Adrien Tambay was 15th on his debut with Pons Racing. The Frenchman won last weekend's inaugural Electric Grand Prix in Pau as part of his preparations.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Daniel Ricciardo ISR 1m27.957s
2. Robert Wickens Carlin 1m28.102s + 0.145s
3. Brendon Hartley Gravity-Charouz 1m28.407s + 0.450s
4. Jake Rosenzweig Mofaz 1m28.687s + 0.730s
5. Alexander Rossi Fortec 1m28.733s + 0.776s
6. Daniel Zampieri BVM Target 1m28.762s + 0.805s
7. Sten Pentus EPIC 1m29.036s + 1.079s
8. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP 1m29.279s + 1.322s
9. Sergio Canamasas BVM Target 1m29.280s + 1.323s
10. Walter Grubmuller P1 1m29.321s + 1.364s
11. Nathanael Berthon ISR 1m29.331s + 1.374s
12. Stephane Richelmi Draco 1m29.875s + 1.918s
13. Nelson Panciatici KMP 1m29.955s + 1.998s
14. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin 1m30.025s + 2.068s
15. Adrien Tambay Pons 1m30.065s + 2.108s
16. Oliver Webb Pons 1m30.124s + 2.167s
17. Jan Charouz Gravity-Charouz 1m30.143s + 2.186s
18. Arthur Pic Tech 1 1m30.166s + 2.209s
19. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 1m30.215s + 2.258s
20. Andre Negrao Draco 1m30.977s + 3.020s
21. Albert Costa EPIC 1m31.223s + 3.266s
22. Cesar Ramos Fortec 1m32.696s + 4.739s
23. Daniel de Jong Comtec 1m33.180s + 5.223s
24. Daniel McKenzie Comtec 1m34.741s + 6.784s
25. Daniil Move P1 1m39.641s + 11.684s
26. Chris van der Drift Mofaz 1m41.393s + 13.436s